When the Cook Can’t Look

A cookbook for the blind, written by Ralph Read, and published in 1981.

A sample of some of his tips and techniques, from a review in the Austin American-Statesman (Sep 22, 1980):

Many of his suggestions are common sense. For instance, for liquid measurements, he uses the dipstick method — having an index finger in the right place at the right time. He uses a teaspoon to spread instead of a knife, allowing himself “one finger to check corners.” And he initials canned foods with raised letters from a plastic tape marker and arranges them alphabetically.

You don’t need to alphabetize bags of things, he says, because you can just pinch them. Split peas do not feel like elbow macaroni.

Tactile memory is very important, for things like knowing which end of a milk carton has the spout. Spices don’t need labeling because you can smell them. Smell and hearing are important factors in cooking without sight. They tell you when things are almost done.

He generally cooks slowly to help “prevent things from getting away from me.” Read has no special gadgets for cooking, though he says friends have shown him catalogs with specialty items for the blind. “Ninety-nine percent of that gadgetry is useless — though I’m interested in the fact that Amana has a blind consultant working with them in Dallas to help develop a microwave oven for the blind.”

There are some definite “don’ts,” Read says, such as not using dangerous items such as an electric beater or broiler. You can get the same desired results without unnecessary risk by using a hand beater or pan-broiling a steak.

You can read the entire book at archive.org.

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Nov 17, 2019
     Category: Food | Cookbooks | Books | Differently Abled, Handicapped, Challenged, and Otherwise Atypical

Years ago I took a tour of the Perkins School for the Blind and was shown a cooking class. I was told that the way you tell if a cake is done (since the toothpick method doesn't work well if you're blind) is to push down and see if it springs back.
Posted by ges on 11/17/19 at 10:49 AM
To ges: How does one “see” if it springs back?
Posted by Judy on 11/17/19 at 04:21 PM
One sees with one's fingers.
Posted by ges on 11/17/19 at 06:18 PM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.